Deftly updating classic R&B for modern times, Mamas Gun strike soul gold on their new single ‘Good Love’, blending warm bass and organ grooves with funky guitars and caramel-smooth vocals.
‘Good Love’ follows on from singles’ Party For One’ and ‘Looking For Moses’ taken from Mamas Gun’s forthcoming album Cure The Jones – a lush, nuanced, and expansively contemporary meditation on a world turned upside down, embedded in the classic soul tradition of Bill Withers and Marvin Gaye.
Lead singer Andy Platts reflects on the meaning of Good Love: “this is a love song, no doubt about it. But it was really prompted by life in the pandemic, which forces you to reflect on what you have. The thought of getting through this pandemic alone, like so many others out there – on top of everything else like work struggles and raising children – was overwhelming. So it is about counting your blessings, the constant and dependable love of your significant other.
Building on 2018 album Golden Days and the band’s status as a world-renowned live act, 11-track opus Cure The Jones represents Mamas Guns’ most complete and powerful work to date – a joyous and sophisticated exposition of song-craft that explores themes of love, loss, life through the most pressing social and political issues of the day.
Watch the video for ‘Good Love’ above, and make sure you head below as we catch up with the band to ask them a few questions about their forthcoming album, creative process, lockdowns and more.
First thing first, we love the video for Party For One. Can you tell us a bit about its creation?
Cam: The Party for One video idea came from a vision I had, every time I heard the early mixes of the track I would just see this line dance routine of werewolves, led by our keys player, Dave. Whenever we’re out playing shows and find ourselves on a dance floor, he brings it upon himself to get everyone around him, (strangers included) to follow a simple dance routine and it’s always a huge vibe to be honest. We wanted the video to feel like a glimpse into the secret life of the band, and a weird ritual that only the 5 of us partake in.
We’re also intrigued by the album cover art. Would you mind telling us a bit about the designer?
Chris: The artwork was designed and realised by Jodie Seymour – who happens to be our Andy’s wife. She is an incredibly creative individual who can turn her hand to most things. She started with some photos of the band along with some books, napkins, pressed flowers and some floral photos that I (Chris) took throughout lockdown 1.0. The themes pick up on song lyrics on the album, with nature and the five guys’ faces being the primary focus. I personally love how it inadvertently resembles the 1966 album Revolver, by a relatively well known British band…
Good Love, your latest track, is about life in the pandemic. How did music help you during the lockdowns?
Dave: For me personally the pandemic was a chance to slow right down and reset. Also to think about what really matters in life. I had the chance to not only spend more time with my family but gave me the opportunity to also dive back into my record collection and spend some time listening to the music that I grew up with as well as recent albums.
Music is an art form that stimulates the mind and brings joy and happiness to people and certainly was the tonic to lift the spirits in the Oliver family home during the darker days of lockdown. There were also many online shows that took place from solo piano to playing with the boys in the band which happened on a few occasions helped by some new online technology from our sound engineer (Doug Hunt) as well as picking up a new instrument (Harmonica) to pass the time. Music for me was a real saving grace.
You created the album during the pandemic. Did that impact your songwriting process, and how did the five of you piece the songs together?
Andy: The pandemic allowed me the time and space to get into a headspace and develop a rhythm to create the bare bones of the songs. Once the writing had begun in earnest, songs came relatively quickly in batches of 3 or 4. Scratch demos were made and then we as a band developed them in person at the studio. Recording live to tape we were able to capture the spirit of the songs in an honest and interesting way, imbuing those final recordings with a distinctive character and atmosphere that makes the whole listening journey an immersive sensory experience from start to finish.
What was the first track you composed for the album, and did it help set the tone or provide a sense of direction?
Andy: “Looking For Moses” was created on the day Bill Withers died. Something in his passing combined with the enormity of the unfolding pandemic yielded a song which both paid tribute to a musical giant but also spoke to the state of the world and our collective hopes and fears.
How has your sound evolved compared to Golden Days, and how has Cure The Jones changed you as an artist?
Cam: With Golden Days, we had just begun to experiment with letting ourselves indulge in the retro-soul thing a little deeper. It was always something we wanted to do but never felt comfortable doing until we got to that record. Cure the Jones is a bit of a continuation of that journey. It documents us feeling comfortable performing the retro soul thing that we really love. It’s also the second record to feature our drummer Chris, so I feel like it’s the sound of a band feeling really settled and overjoyed with the music we create together.
What are the themes explored on Cure The Jones?
Andy: Universal uncertainty/hope/fear/the search for answers/Loss/Emotional endurance/loneliness/isolation/Counting your blessings/Acceptance of ageing/Optimism/ Love/reminiscing and nostalgia to name a few.
In a post-COVID world, how do you see the music industry evolving?
Terry: We think and hope that the appreciation and significance for music will have grown in many ways. Certainly, at the live shows, we have managed to reschedule and now perform, we have felt a great deal of love and a new sense of gratefulness in the air from our audiences. From an industry perspective, it seems as though new, (sometimes) even virtual ways of communicating with fans are starting to emerge and become increasingly important. No doubt there will be plenty of companies, musicians, technicians, promoters, labels etc that didn’t make it through the past 2 years of hardship as well. This will certainly have some effect on the reshaping of the music industry but in what ways I don’t think we fully know yet.
What else have you got in store for the rest of 2022?
Dave: For the rest of the year we shall be touring the UK and mainland Europe promoting our new album ‘Cure the Jones’ as well as our first visit to the U.S.A in September.